1. KitchenAid Stand Mixer
When my grandmother (maternal) died in 2004, I was offered her KitchenAid Stand Mixer. We took it home and I put it on my counter. And there it sat. Not getting used much. But I was working full time and just wasn't doing a lot of cooking. So we ended up passing it on. Flash forward to 2014 when my paternal grandma died, bequeathing me her stack of favorite cookbooks, the old family recipes and her...KitchenAid Stand Mixer. THIS time, I was ready for it. And let me tell you, I have given that baby a workout! I use it for everything from dough to batter to making creamy mashed potatoes. I LOVE that I can get it set up and just walk away. I also love that I have a pasta attachment and sausage attachment. No extra machines needed. This baby gets used at least 3-4 times a week and it has well earned it's place on my counter. I highly recommend one of these for any home where there is someone who cooks a LOT.
People, let me tell you. BEST PURCHASE FOR 2016 in my kitchen. I have been so happy to have this baby. It does EVERYTHING and more. And all the issues I had with my other Oster run of the mill normal blender--gone. This baby can crush ice in record time. It can turn whole apples into a smoothie without any bits. Horseradish, ginger, garlic--whirled together and nothing left behind. Even frozen fruit--it doesn't bog it down nor stay chunky. Adding leafy and stem herbs? No worries. NO tangles around the blade. AND it has a 96 oz pitcher! Let's not forget the food processing attachment and the single serving smoothie travel cups. Oh man. I LOVE those! If I'm making a smoothie for me, I don't need the pitcher! Just put it in my cup, give it a whirl, put on a lid and go! Seriously. I can't say enough about this thing. Even my mom is trying to figure out how to justify replacing her "works perfectly fine" blender, in order to get one like mine. She has fallen in love with it. If your family is a smoothie family and your normal blender gets bogged down--or you have issues with frozen fruits not getting chopped--you need this. Unlike a "juicer" you can put the whole fruit or veggie in and get it completely chopped! Not wasting anything. Go for it. Even if you go for a smaller Ninja. It's worth it.
3. Kitchen Digital Scale
With our beef business, I needed a good scale so we could check on our various packaged meat weights. I also use it in cooking for weighted recipes, but not usually. One of the things I absolutely wanted, was a scale that went over 10lbs. Fortunately there are quite a few selections out there. One of my favorites is this 11lb Food Kitchen Scale with Removable Bowl. I love the sleek design, and that I wouldn't need a separate bowl. This Slim Stainless Multifunction Scale also goes to 11lbs, but is flat for the more bulky objects. It's more like the one I have (that I can't find anymore). Either of these is a good option for someone who needs to know weights in their business or cooking. I also like to use it to figure out shipping costs when I'm sending something.
Oh man. I use this ALL the time. For cooking and for tea. I love having it ready where I can get boiling water in a matter of a couple minutes. I keep it full. Another item I probably use every week several times. And it doesn't take up room on top of my stove. If you have a tea lover, you definitely need to snag this for them, if they don't have it yet. There are several different versions. I have one similar to this one on the left. There is also a 1.7 litre one that is by the same company, but with a more rounded design.
Hamilton Beach Programmable Bread Machine. It even has settings for gluten-free if you need this setting. Another one that is popular (#1 actually) is the Oster 2-pound Expressbake Bread Machine. I had one almost identical to this one--I believe it makes a loaf in just 1 1/2 hrs. Did you know most bread machine's also make cheesecake?!
Fruit and Vegetable Chopper from Progressive. We were leery about the fact that it's predominately plastic, but let me tell you. After chopping that GARBAGE BAG--yes I do mean that in every sense of the word--of peppers, we were convinced! What used to take about 2 hrs, took an hour tops. One of us sliced the peppers open and the other chopped. Bam. perfect size. a container to catch them. We filled our freezer bags quick as a wink. I also use this chopper for mashed potatoes. It keeps them uniform and small for boiling. Hard boiled eggs or strawberries? Yes there is a soft food slicer blade as well! It also comes with a piece for cleaning the chopper lid. I am very pleased with my chopper--BUT if you are wanting a smaller version, I have always enjoyed using the smaller chopper for chopping/mincing/dicing.
If you want to lose me in a store (like Walmart), take me to the kitchen section and let it have items from The Pioneer Woman collection. My absolute favorite is the Pioneer Woman Flea Market collection! I already own several pieces from the collection including a tablecloth, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and the adorable stainless steel measuring spoons. My goal is to get a few of the baking dish pieces too. And the towels/washcloths. The beautiful trivet collection. And anything else that jumps into my cart. LOL. I use recipes from The Pioneer Woman cookbook all the time. Her sausage gravy and her meatballs are family favorites! I totally recommend any of the Pioneer Woman line of kitchen and dining products!
Now there are far more than 10 things that I think are awesome for a kitchen, but THESE ten are items that I personally love and think any cook would love to receive as a gift! I hope that I've given you some new ideas to explore as your going about your gift buying over the upcoming month and throughout the year to come.